Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming


Apricot


An apricot is a fruit or the tree that bears the fruit, of several species in the genus Prunus (stone fruits).Usually, an apricot tree is from the species P. armeniaca, but the species P. brigantine, P. mandshurica, P. mume, P. zhengheensis and P. sibirica are closely related, have similar fruit, and are also called apricots.
Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming
             
Nutritions

     Benefits of apricot



Are apricots good for you?

Apricot fruits have a lot of benefits related to our health, our skin, and more. here we are going to discuss some benefits of apricot-

  • good eye health-   if u having apricot daily so you will struggle with the eye problem because apricot fruit contains a lot of vitamin A. so if you are able to take apricot fruit than take it properly it can help you to boost your eyes.

Is Apricot good for skin?

  • best for skin- The main causes of wrinkles and skin damage are environmental factors, such as the sun, pollution, and cigarette smoke. it can help you to solve these major problems. Vitamins C and E, both found in this fruit, may aid your skin.


  • higher in potassium- As potassium works closely with sodium to maintain fluid balance, adequate intake may help prevent bloating and maintain healthy blood pressure.

  • very hydrating- As most people don’t drink enough water, eating fresh fruit can help you reach your daily needs. 
  • If you’re dehydrated, your blood volume drops, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood. Furthermore, staying hydrated allows your blood to circulate waste products and nutrients throughout your body.

  •  Apricot oil benefits: Anti-ageing

  •   Helps prevent blackheads

  •   Rejuvenates dry, mature skin types
  •  Increased Concentration of Nutrients
  • Improving Bone Mineral Density

recipes with apricot




Apricot cultivation

B.NAME- prunus armeniaca

Chromosome- 16
Fruit type – stone


(Stone fruit has a single seed covered by a hard, thick seed coat. Together the seed and the seed coat are called stone. both the kernel and the shell have economic uses.)

Origin- china

Temperate fruit

Type of pollination- self (homogamy)

Edible part- endocarp

Sowing time- apricot has a short maturity period, it ready for the market from June in plains and oct in hills.

Ø Apricot plant height is about 2 to 15 m.
Ø Fruit is 4 to 7 cm wide in shape.
Ø It require 5 to 6 month to develop and ripin.
Ø Apricot has a short self life near 10 days maximum.
Ø Apricot should be dried and process in juice and canning purpose.Ø Flower are dioicous contain both part.
Ø Pollination by honey bee.
Ø Separate buds for flower and leaves.
Ø Flower and fruit form both on one year old wood.
Ø Fruit varies in sizes.
Ø Idle showing time for apricot is dec and January.
Ø It requires low tempture because it is a temprate crop.
Ø Temp range between 10 to 20.
Ø 500 hours chilling required for 7 or less than.


Propogation- grafting.

Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming

Ø Commercial propagation of apricot does by grafting.
Ø Bud grafting.
Ø Whip or tough grafting.


Propagation Apricot trees are usually propagated vegetatively to maintain the desirable genetic characteristic of the parent.

 Trees can be propagated from cuttings or by budding and grafting. Cuttings are lengths of stem usually taken from the previous year's growth of an established tree.

 Cuttings are taken in late winter or early spring and rooted so that they produce a whole new tree. Budding and grafting involve joining two genetically distinct plants one is used for the lower part called the rootstock and another is used for the upper part, known as the scion.

 The scion is attached by inserting a bud from the desired variety under the bark of the rootstock so that it produces a new tree. Planting Apricot trees should be planted in full sun.

 In colder regions it is beneficial to plant them close to a north-facing wall which helps reduce the speed with which the trees warm in the spring, delaying bloom. Plant bare-root trees in a pre-dug hole which is slightly wider than the root ball.

 Backfill the hole so that the tree is planted to its original planting depth. It is usually possible to identify this from changes in the color of the bark. If planting multiple trees, space them at least 7.6 m (25 ft) apart.

 General care and maintenance Apricots should be pruned annually and are generally trained to an open center. Annual pruning encourages new fruit spurs. When the tree is bearing fruit, it is important to thin the fruits to leave 3 or 4 per cluster.

 This allows fruits to become larger and prevents the tree from reducing production the following year. Trees should be watered regularly during the growing season to aid with fruit development.

 During dry periods, water trees every 10 to 14 days. Apply water deeply and widely, to at least the width of the canopy. Trees will also benefit from the application of nitrogen fertilizer in Spring.

Site Selection and Preparation of Land-

Select land with permanent access to water throughout the year and which is well-drained,
deep, and fertile. Plant new orchards with a north/south orientation of the rows for better
exposure to sunlight.
 This will help trees bloom later and reduce the danger of frost at the early stages of growth.

Full sunlight nearly all day long is essential; without at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight
each day, the trees will produce long thin branches with little fruit.

 Make sure the ground is firm, moist and exposed to sunlight by removing the ground cover or keeping it low and not cultivating the soil during cold months.

Planting-

After selection of the site and location, the land should be thoroughly plowed, leveled, and made fertile with well-decomposed manure.

 Leveling is important for efficient irrigation and preventing soil erosion. In the hills, the land should be divided into terraces depending upon the topography of the land and the leveling done within the terraces.

 Terracing protects the land from erosion. The fertility of the soil is important for growing apricots. If the soil is poor, plow in green manure so as to improve the soil’s physical and chemical conditions before planting.

Any method of layout should aim at providing an optimum number of trees per hectare.
Adequate space for proper development of the trees and ensuring convenience in orchard cultural practices is essential. 


The most common layout systems used in Afghanistan are square and rectangular systems---

Square system:
Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming
 This is the most common system used in Afghanistan. Trees are planted on each corner of a square at a distance of 5x5 or 6x6 meters apart from one another. 

The central area between the four trees may be used to raise fodder crops or vegetables, such as clover or mong bean. This system permits intercropping and cultivation in two directions.

Rectangular system:
Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming
 In this system, trees are planted on each corner of a rectangle. The most common distances between plant to plant and row to row are 5m and 6m, respectively. A total of 65-70 saplings are required for one jerib (2,000 sq. meter) of land.

As the distance between any two rows is more than the distance between any two trees in a row, there is no equal distribution of space per tree. The wider space available between rows of trees permits easy orchard management operations and the use of mechanical aids,
such as tractors sprayers.

Soil Preparation and Fertilization—

After selecting the site, the land should be thoroughly plowed, leveled, and enriched with well-decomposed farmyard manure.

 Leveling is important for efficient irrigation and preventing soil erosion. In the hills, the land should be divided into level terraces oriented to the topography of the land to protect the soil from erosion.

 If the soil is poor, plow in 10-12 inches of green manure into the soil to improve its physical and chemical condition before planting.

After the orchard is laid out, dig a hole of 1mx 1m x 1m, depending on the soil type and hardpan.

Put the upper half of the soil to one side and use it at the bottom of the hole when the
saplings are planted (the topsoil is more fertile than the bottom soil).

The fertilization of apricot trees depends on analyzing soil fertility and signs of nutrient deficiency.

In Afghanistan, urea fertilizer is applied at an amount of 100-500 grams, depending on age of the tree, soil texture, and availability of water.

Pruning—

Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming

Pruning is the selective removal of branches and shoots. Pruning helps form a better canopy to protect the fruit from excess sunlight.

 Pruning also eliminates unproductive, dead, broken, or damaged/diseased branches and creates space for light penetration and air circulation. It makes trees easier to spray and harvest, increases the output and quality of the fruit, and enhances flowering and fruiting. 

Prune apricots after harvest in late summer, depending on the location and climate of the area. The open center system of pruning apricot allows sunlight to reach all parts of the tree. 

Light pruning can be done throughout the growing season to remove broken and diseased branches, water sprouts, and root suckers. 

Training of trees creates a canopy by leaving only three to five branches during the first two years of planting. Apply Bordeaux or fungicide paste on the cut portion of branches and limbs to promote healing of the wounds.

Thinning-

Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming

Apricots generally set more fruit than they are capable of carrying to full maturity. Fruit
removes excess fruits to improve the size and color of the fruit, reduce the risk of limb breakage, and promote regular flower production the following year.

The proper time for thinning apricots is 40-45 days after full bloom or when the fruit is the
size of a berry (about ¾ -1 inch in diameter). Trees that are thinned too late will suffer from smaller fruit size and diminished quality.

Apricots Fruits can be thinned through different methods depending on the size of orchard, availability of labor, and tools (i.e. hand thinning, pole thinning, mechanical thinning, and chemical thinning). 

Hand thinning is the most common method used in Afghanistan. Fruit can be thinned in two ways: size thinning (removing small fruits) and space thinning (selective removal of dense fruits so that the fruit is distributed uniformly along the branches).

Irrigation-


Water is an essential component of plant tissue, influencing, and controlling the growth and development of trees. 

Water is absorbed by the roots from the soil, and nutrients dissolved in water are taken to all parts of the plant through the process of translocation. Plants utilize water in a variety of processes such as transpiration, cell division, and photosynthesis. 

Adequate water supply during the growth stage has a direct bearing on fruit quality and yield. With water in short supply in the summer months, efficient irrigation and water
management is essential for a productive crop. 
Irrigation scheduling should be based on knowing the moisture content in the soil, the growth stage of the plant, air temperature, wind speed, rainfall, and appearance of the leaves.

 Soil moisture can be measured by a number of methods such as tensiometers, neutron moisture probes, gypsum blocks, or a soil probe.

 To test the moisture of the soil by hand, take a handful of soil 30cm below the
surface and clench it in your fist.
If the soil holds its shape when the hand is unclenched, the soil is sufficiently moist. If the soil crumbles, the soil is too dry.

The amount of water for irrigation depends on the water holding capacity of the soil, the amount of rainfall, and the rate of transpiration of the trees. Seven irrigation methods are outlined below.


Flood Irrigation-

Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming



This type of irrigation is used in areas where the surface is flat and local water sources are sufficient to irrigate the trees. Water enters a square enclosed area and irrigates a group of trees. While cheaper and easier than other methods of irrigation, flood irrigation results in high water loss through evaporation and leaching. 



Furrow Irrigation (Channel System)-

Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming



In this method, trees are planted in long parallel channels connected to a water source. The water flows from one end of the channel to the other. Several channels can get water simultaneously depending on the capacity of the water source. 



Basin Irrigation-



Basin irrigation is similar to the channel system, except that the channel linking the trees is smaller, with rings circling each tree. 

Basins are made around each tree -- 50cm radius the first year, increasing to 1m or larger as the tree canopy grows and the tree’s water needs increase. 

One disadvantage of this method is that manure and fertilizer tends to accumulate in the trees at the end of the line.


Modified Basin Irrigation-


This is the most popular and efficient method of orchards on level ground. A central water channel feeds pairs of trees branching on either side. 

As above, small basins are prepared around each tree – 50cm radius the first year, increasing to 1m or larger as the tree’s size and water needs increase.

 This system uses less water and does not move nutrients from one tree to another. Weeds can be more easily controlled, as water does not reach outlying areas beyond the channel. 

The  Apricots disadvantage is the labor and cost involved in preparing each of the circular basins, extending them as the tree grows and cleaning debris from the central channels. 



Weed Control-



Weeds can greatly out-compete trees for nutrients, especially nitrogen. Fertilizer is drawn away from the tree and absorbed by weeds.

  Weeds divert much of the water that is crucial to the tree during the hot summer months. Weeds are also a potential host for pests.

 Weeds can be controlled by intercropping between rows, mowing, or the application of a weed controlling chemical.

 Pre-emergent weed killers should be used only after germination. Glyphosate can be used throughout the growing season. 

In Afghanistan, fruit growers typically use mechanical means of control, i.e. softening the soil and removing the weeds with a shovel or tractor. 


Winter Dormancy & Chilling Requirement-

The chilling requirement is the minimum period of cold weather after which fruit-bearing trees will blossom. 

Trees that lack a minimum number of “chill hours” will often experience delayed or substandard foliation, flowering, and fruiting.

 One chilling unit is equal to one hour of exposure of the tree to chilling temperature. Apricot trees require 300 - 800 chilling hours (generally a temperature below 70 C.) during the winter dormant period. 


Fertilization-


Like all other living organisms, apricot trees need nutrients to grow and thrive. They require sixteen essential elements for growth and normal functioning, which fall under macronutrients and micronutrients. 

Macronutrients-

  These are the elements that plants require in relatively large amounts, such as nitrogen (promotes green leaves and foliage growth), phosphorus (stimulates healthy root growth and the formation of flowers, seeds, and fruit), and potassium (required for proper development of flowers and fruit). 

Secondary macronutrients, which are needed in smaller amounts, include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.  

Micronutrients-

 These are the elements that plants need in relatively small amounts, such as boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, and nickel.

 When developing mineral nutrient management programs for tree fruits, it is important to consider the nutrient demand-supply relationship throughout the season. 

Early season canopy development and fruit growth require large amounts of nitrogen, while fruit quality development and adequate cold hardiness later in the season require only a minimum supply of nitrogen. 

Like other crops, apricot trees require some nutrients in the form of chemical fertilizer. Soil and leaves should be analyzed in order to determine the right quantity of fertilizer. 

Agriculture experts in Afghanistan recommend 100g-1kg urea fertilizer per tree, depending on the age and soil texture during the growth stage.

 Fertilizer is applied by a variety of methods, such as broadcasting by hand, side-dress (applying fertilizer below the canopy but away from the trunk), band placement (applying in bands down the row), and foliar spray.

 Well, decomposed manure or compost is also a good source of different minerals and nutrients. (Care should be taken not to apply fresh animal manure into the soil, as it will damage the trees.) 


Maturity-

The maturity of apricots can be determined the number of ways, such as color, firmness, Brix (sugar level), and acid level.

 The firmness and Brix is measured using a determined using a penetrometer and refractometer, respectively.  Color is the first indication of fruit maturity in apricots. 

As apricots tend to ripen unevenly in an orchard, multiple harvests may be necessary to achieve optimum yield. When using fruit color as a determinant for maturity, the farmer needs to be familiar with the developmental stages of his particular variety. 

Apricots picked too soon may suffer from bitter taste and discoloration; those harvested too late will not be appropriate for the storage or long-distance transportation.

 A wring test is the second method of testing apricot ripeness. The apricot is cut in half along the axis and the two halves are then rotated in different directions. 

If there is no adhesion of flesh on the stone, the fruit is ready to pick. Size and shape are the third indications of apricot maturity and ripeness.

 When the shoulders of the fruit are fully developed, the fruit is generally considered ripe. Sizing rings can be used to determine readiness for harvest. Firmness can be checked with a penetrometer.

 When testing Brix percentage using a refractometer, Brix is measured in degrees, with 1 degree of Brix equal to 1 gram of sucrose in a 100gm solution. 

The refractometer has to be calibrated with sterile water before use and cleaned after each use so as not to bias results.

 The temperature of the fruit should be around 20º C. Newer handheld refractometers have been developed which automatically adjust to the temperature of the sample. The average sugar level for mature apricots is 14.30.



Common Diseases and Pests-

Apricot trees pose a tempting target for a wide variety of pests. Pest management is thus a critical component of good orchard practice.
Shot Hole-
Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming



  Shot hole (corneum blight) is one of the most common pests affecting stone fruits. Most apricot varieties are extremely susceptible to shot holes, and farmers must be vigilant in treating the disease, which can wipe out an entire orchard. 

The disease appears as scattered brown spots (lesions) on the leaves which enlarge to cover the entire leaf blade. It then spreads to buds, blossoms, twigs, shoots, and fruits.

 As the lesions enlarge they take on the appearance of gunshot holes in the foliage, enlarging until the leaves drop. 

This places stress on a tree and inhibits its ability to produce. The fruit is usually affected by spotting on the upper surface which becomes rough in texture.

 The shot hole can be prevented by the application of dormant winter oil and Bordeaux mixture, heavily diluted, and through the pruning and destruction of infected tissues, twigs, and  Apricots branches.

 Copper sulfate and copper oxychloride is recommended in cases of severe infection. The solution should be applied in the fall starting at 50% leaf drop to protect newly forming buds.

 Spray with DNOC (1%) or nitrafen (3%) before bud swelling, cuperson (.5%) until flowering, and cuprosan or zeneb (.5%) after flowering.

Gummosis-
Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming



 Gummosis is a disease observed in stone fruits and citrus. Trees infected with gummosis discharge sap from wounds in the trunk and branches of the tree. 

Gummosis can be caused by mechanical injury during pruning, environmental stress, adverse soil, and nutrition or disease and pest infestation.

 Cytospora canker is one of the fungal causes of gummosis, which is indistinguishable from insect damage and mechanical injuries. Gummosis first appears as blisters of 1-6 mm on young bark.

 These raised areas are due to the abnormal growth of plant cells.  Gummosis can be avoided by taking care not to damage trees with garden equipment and machinery. 

Fungal spores enter the tree through injured tissues, germinate and penetrate the tissue. Farmers should take special care during winter. 

Trees should be planted in well-drained soil, and cultivars should be carefully selected to match the conditions of the particular growing area.

 Aphids-

Apricot : Apricot fruit,benefits and farming



 Aphids are small sap-sucking insects that attack the green tissues of plants. Several species are particularly virulent with regard to apricots, such as hop aphids, mealy plum aphids, and thistle aphids.


 Aphids feed on plants by injecting their needle-like mouthparts into the tissue and sucking out the plant juice. Aphids can be green, black, pink, or mixed color.

 Aphids have many natural enemies such as lady beetles, lacewings, syrphid flies, predaceous midge larvae, and predatory bugs, which can often keep aphid populations under control if they are not disturbed by broad-spectrum insecticide treatments.

 The aphid overwinters in the egg stage on water sprouts and terminals. Eggs tend to be concentrated on a few trees in a planting. Hatching begins as buds open in spring. Aphids feed on flower parts and then move to grow shoots.

 Females produce many generations during the summer and disperse throughout the orchard and to other orchards. Males appear in the fall and mate with the females that then lay overwintering eggs.

   The symptoms of aphids are seen in leaves, fruits, and shoots. Leaves are curled downward and sticky with honeydew secreted by the aphids. Honeydew may also drip onto the fruit causing russet spots and black sooty mold.

  Apricot growers should monitor their trees carefully for the earliest onset of aphids. A few colonies can rapidly infest the entire tree. Examine ten fruit clusters from the inner canopy of each ten trees. Treatment is suggested if 30% of the terminals are infested and natural enemies are not present.

Pest and Disease Management-

Pest and disease management is critical for preventing wide-scale damage to apricot orchards.


 These methods of orchard management can be divided into mechanical or cultural methods (such as pruning), chemical control (pesticides), and biological control (use of natural predators).

 Dormant spray is one of the most common ways of preventing infestations of certain insects, mites, and diseases affecting apricots.

 Late winter or early spring is the best time to apply the dormant spray. These sprays include the following: 
Winter oils-


are simple combinations of oils used for the prevention and control of a variety of pests and diseases. They work by desiccating or smothering eggs and larvae. 

These oils are available in the local market under such names as dormant oil, mineral oil, narrow range oil, petroleum oil, vegetable oil, and horticultural oil. 

Some farmers prepare a mixture consisting of 100 liters of water, 3 liters of mustard oil, 1kg of fermentation soda, and 50g of detergent, spraying it on the trees during the dormant period. 

Bordeaux mixture-

is the most widely used copper fungicide in Afghanistan, effective in controlling many fungi and bacterial diseases. It can be used as a disinfectant in young saplings before planting in orchards.

 The most effective application period is during the dormant season (Jan-Mar). The mixture can be prepared from copper sulfate, quick lime, and water in a ratio of (2:2:250), respectively.

  Dissolve the copper sulfate in 125 liters of water in a non-metallic vessel. Empty 2kg of quick lime in another vessel (such as a wooden barrel or earthen pitcher) and slowly add the remaining 125 liters of water.

 Pour the two mixtures into a third vessel, stirring constantly with a wooden stick. Strain this liquid through a cloth or burlap sack before pouring into the spray tank.


Harvest-


Fruit should be removed from the tree with the stem intact if the intention is to store or ship it long distances. The use of harvest bags can reduce the amount of impact and crushing, and also frees up both hands for handling.

 If using plastic harvest crates for field harvesting, line them with plastic to protect the apricots from being scratched by the rough Apricots surfaces of the crate.

 Any external scratch or impact on the fruit allows an ingress point for pathogens and causes increased moisture loss.

 Avoid using wood as it is difficult to clean and can harbor pathogens that will transfer from one load to the next. Never leave poor quality fruit lying in the orchard. 

This can provide an opportunity for fungal infections and other pathogens to propagate over winter, causing new infections in the following season.

 Damaged fruit can be used for composting, juice processing, or animal feed. Harvest early in the morning so that the fruit is at its lowest core temperature. Fruit can then be packed and stored with minimal precooling.

 When packing in the field, dampen the area around the packing site to prevent dust from blowing onto the clean fruit. Where possible, lay a tarpaulin under a shaded area for packing and ensure that it is kept clean.
 Where possible, use chlorinated water at 200ppm (20ml per liter) to wash the fruit.   





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